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LUMA Arles presents Judy Chicago’s first european retrospective

The legendary Herstory of American feminist artist Judy Chicago unfolds in a major exhibition at LUMA Arles in France. This show is an expanded version of the Judy Chicago: Herstory exhibition held at New York’s New Museum in 2023, and now presents the most comprehensive display of the artist’s work in Europe to date. Covering over sixty years of her career, the exhibition features pieces from her early experiments to her latest iconic works, showcasing her unique feminist approach. ‘Many of Judy’s efforts are focused on softening reality or giving it a female touch,’ says Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, curator of the exhibition and Director of Exhibitions and Programs at LUMA Arles in a preview attended by designboom. ‘She has consistently opened up spaces that were closed off to female artists. She is fearless and dedicated to her ideas. This is what makes Judy remarkable.’

The exhibition features a revival of Chicago’s early emblematic Feather Room as its centerpiece. Additionally, for its opening, the show included An Homage to Arles, the first Smoke Sculpture by Judy Chicago in Europe, which enveloped Frank Gehry’s Luma Arles tower in colorful smoke and fireworks. The exhibition runs until September 29, 2024.

Judy Chicago: Herstory traces the iconic artist’s 60-year career

Judy Chicago (find more here), born in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois, is a pioneering figure in Feminist art from the 1970s, a movement that aimed to portray women’s lives, emphasize their roles as artists, and change how contemporary art was made and perceived. The renowned American artist studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and UCLA, shaping her unique style and feminist perspective. Throughout her 60-year career, she has used painting, sculpture, and performance art to explore themes like female identity, power, and social justice. Her work has been crucial in challenging the male-dominated art scene and inspiring generations of artists and activists. Perhaps her most famous is The Dinner Party, a large triangular table installation celebrating women’s history and achievements. Spanning around 14.5 meters (48 feet) on each side, it features place settings dedicated to notable women throughout history, with an additional 999 names inscribed on its base. Figures honored include the Primordial Goddess, Ishtar, Hatshepsut, Artemisia Gentileschi, and others. This installation has been praised as a feminist symbol while also drawing criticism for its controversial elements, such as female genital-shaped plates. Other notable art projects by Chicago include International Honor Quilt, Birth Project, Powerplay, and The Holocaust Project. 

The exhibition Judy Chicago: Herstory at LUMA Arles (find more here) showcases Chicago’s diverse contributions across various media: painting, sculpture, installation, drawing, textiles, photography, stained glass, needlework, and printmaking. It traces her evolution from early Minimalism in the 1960s to groundbreaking feminist art in the 1970s and later series like the aforementioned Birth Project, and PowerPlay, as well as Resolutions: A Stitch in Time, and The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction. These works expand her feminist agenda to address issues such as environmental destruction, genocide, social inequality, and mortality, demonstrating Chicago’s enduring impact across different art movements despite historical erasure.

feminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arlesfeminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arles 

feminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arles

feminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arles

feminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arles  feminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arlesfeminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arles

feminist artist judy chicago shares her 'herstory' in first european retrospective at LUMA arles

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